By Gloria Lloyd
Rep. David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, launched a new online resource this fall to help Missourians living in areas vulnerable to flooding along the Meramec River.
Gregory, a Republican who has represented the 96th Missouri House District since 2016, was re-elected Tuesday over Democratic challenger Erica Hoffman.
Flooding heavily hit Gregory’s district in Sunset Hills and Fenton in 2016 and 2017 — including Gregory’s own neighborhood in Sunset Hills — and as Gregory was helping fellow residents sandbag after one of the floods, “I got a lot of people making me promise that I would help figure out what was going on with the flood,” Gregory said.
The result was the St. Louis Flood Committee, which Gregory put together after sending a letter to 1,500 interested residents who live along the Meramec basin.
“Anyone who wants to volunteer, we’re all going to get our heads together and start figuring things out,” Gregory said. “What are we doing to protect ourselves? We had two 500-year floods in a year and a half.”
For months this year the committee met with experts, including hydrologists and civil engineers, federal employees and state agencies, to find new ways to help those living in flood-prone areas. The committee’s research determined that not enough useful information was available online, which led to the September rollout of the “Missouri Flood Navigator” online portal at MoFloodNavigator.com
The site is funded by Gregory’s campaign committee since the state wouldn’t fork out the funds.
One of the problems the group identified as far as flooding response was that the floods involved federal, state, county and local authorities and responses, so there was no single site that residents could go to in order to figure out what to do or how to get help before, during and after the flooding.
Fenton Mayor Josh Voyles was sworn in just two days before the devastation of the April 2017 flood.
“One of the greatest needs was better information for our community so our citizens and local officials could make better decisions in a flooding emergency,” Voyles said in a news release.
“Rep. Gregory’s Flood Navigator site is an excellent idea and will help improve preparedness, which will help save lives and property.”
The site identifies ways to prepare for floods, how to monitor water levels, how to sandbag and prevent more damage if it comes to that, how to contact the American Red Cross and how to clean up the damage.
“The excellent website will help make residents of the St. Louis region better prepared for our next major flood, and make us all better able to survive it when it happens,” said David Stokes, executive director of Great Rivers Habitat Alliance.
“I am pleased that this tool has been built to help people who are facing a flood. Information on the site is powerful and can help flood victims when their need is most critical,” said Renee Reuter, Jefferson County District 2 councilwoman.
“As someone trained in community emergency response, I find the Missouri Flood Navigator to be an outstanding citizen resource before, during and after a flooding disaster has occurred,” said Lindbergh Board of Education member Mike Tsichlis. “Many thanks to Rep. Gregory for helping residents of the 96th District be safe.”
The Missouri Flood Navigator Portal contains critical information to help during a flood emergency. The site includes information on how to prepare for a flood, monitor flood progression, how to volunteer to help victims along with resources for cleaning up after a flood.